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Age-defying muscles? A distinguished interdisciplinary team aims high to improve muscle performance in aging populations.

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Recognized for gains in research and innovation Welcome to the 2016 edition of Discover magazine! Research and innovation continue to grow at Marquette, and we are pleased that the 2015 Carnegie Classification lists Marquette among the institutions with “higher research activity.” This year’s edition of our annual research, scholarship and innovation publication once again highlights selected examples of the important scholarly work of our faculty and students engaged with them. As captured in these pages, their inquiry explores human experience, provides fundamental insight into the natural world and strives to create innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Our cover story introduces you to the powerful partnership of two of our distinguished researchers, Drs. Robert Fitts and Sandra Hunter, who are bringing their complementary expertise together to determine the most effective modes of exercise for older adults. An example of faculty and students coming together across disciplinary boundaries, and involving community partners in designing research priorities, is the Latina/o Well-being Research Initiative, led by Drs. Lisa Edwards and Lucas Torres. The Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative, led by its new director David Strifling, is providing much-needed resources

to aid in the Milwaukee region’s aspiration to be an international hub for solutions to water-related issues. As director of research in the School of Dentistry, Dr. Lobat Tayebi is bringing together expertise in physics, engineering, biomedical science and other fields to create innovative solutions to dental health concerns. We also explore the unusual career path that brought Dr. Peter Staudenmaier to Marquette, where he is becoming a highly regarded scholar exploring German esoteric movements. There is so much to share about research and innovation at Marquette. Short features in “Research in Brief” introduce you to a few more of our talented faculty, recent books are listed on the “Bookshelf” page, and the “Spark” section describes several fastadvancing innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives on campus. We also welcome our new provost, Dr. Daniel Myers, the university’s chief academic officer, as well as a new member of the Office of Research and Innovation team, Dr. Carmel Ruffolo. Check out research and for more news and updates. Dr. Jeanne M. Hossenlopp Vice President for Research and Innovation

We appreciate your feedback on Discover. Please send all comments to the editorial director at Editor Stephen Filmanowicz Art director Sharon Grace Editorial team Becky Dubin Jenkins and Jennifer Russell

Photographers James Brozek, Dan Johnson, Chris Kessler, Jesse Lee, iStock

Editor’s note: Faculty titles in this issue of Discover are current as of its March 2016 publication, but some featured faculty members may be promoted to new positions effective fall 2016.

table of contents 0 2 A  GING MUSCLES UNBOUND Matching special exercises with aging populations, a research team targets remarkable performance gains. 

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T  HE TROUBLE WITH SALT As road salt makes its way into Northern water sources, a Marquette project explores policy alternatives.

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 ESEARCH FOR A R BURGEONING COMMUNITY Faculty members coalesce behind research on Latino well-being.


 TRANGE CONTRADICTIONS S A former anti-academic sorts through the shifting undercurrents of prewar Germany.


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C  ONVERGENCE Promising solutions from the frontier where dentistry meets physics, chemistry and engineering.


R  ESEARCH IN BRIEF Promising probiotics; tools for smarter device design; dismantling school tracks; snapshots of intermediates; a literary lens into the law; a grip on pension problems; and social media’s challenge to state authority.


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S PARK Innovation at Marquette: corporate engagement; a new startup culture; a script-flipping neighborhood collaboration; and new ideas unleashed by a seed fund.



Photo courtesy of Heather Perkins/Ignite My Cause

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Aging muscles unbound

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By Erik Gunn

In matching special exercises with aging populations, a distinguished interdisciplinary team aims for remarkable improvements in muscle performance.

It’s a question that his colleague, Dr. Sandra Hunter, has been considering as well during the course of a career as an exercise scientist who also has worked with athletes and the general population while paying special attention to the exercise needs of the elderly.

Fitts and Hunter are co-investigators on a five-year project that will explore if systematically encouraging older people to exercise — and, more important, to exercise in ways different from those of younger people — can help them stay stronger longer. Funded by a $2.8 million National Institutes of Health grant, the project will combine the everyday with the cutting edge. Two groups of people in their 70s and 80s will perform either a traditional strength training program or a program

Fitts is a professor of biological sciences in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and Hunter a professor of exercise science at the College of Health Sciences.

But isn’t slowing down just the price of growing older? “It doesn’t have to happen,” says Fitts, at least nowhere near as drastically as it does. Yes, people do slow down and do less with age. But, he adds, “if you look at especially sedentary populations like ours, the problems are very much exacerbated and are considerably worse than in areas where people are generally more active. So I think that’s sort of a defeatist attitude to say, ‘Well, we’re all getting old … forget about it.’ ” Hunter’s own doctoral research showed her how much staying active can help older people preserve strength and stamina. She studied a sample of about 250 women, dividing them into more active and less active groups. For those who were less active, simple tasks such as getting out

aging muscles unbound

Professor, Exercise Science

Slowing down with age, says Fitts, doesn’t have to happen anywhere near as drastically as it usually does.

Dr. Sandra Hunter

Now he has turned to a new set of questions — one closely related to his earlier work yet much closer to home: Why do people fatigue so easily when they get older, and what can be done to prevent that?

designed to stress the muscle for a long period during each contraction. That’s the more familiar part. The cutting-edge part will be the use of high-tech tools to examine the muscle cells and nervous system of the two groups to find out what difference the workouts made.



Dr. Robert Fitts

Professor, Biological Sciences

Marquette biologist Dr. Robert Fitts spent most of his professional life studying how human muscles atrophy in outer space zero gravity. Working with NASA and international space organizations, he helped combat the muscle wasting that was the astronaut’s occupational hazard.

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Training regularly at 73, Dr. Robert Fitts says slower lifting of moderate loads can dramatically increase muscle power in older people.

of a chair could require a large percentage of their strength by the time they were 63 years old. The active women didn’t reach that limit until they were 73, on average. “They had a 10-year advantage,” she says of that group. Our younger selves may not fully appreciate the difference. “When you’re young, performing daily activities of living is easy because you’ve got to use such a small percentage of your strength,” Hunter continues. “As you age, you become so much less strong, but if you’re active you can offset some of those limitations.” The pair thinks it’s the muscles themselves — and learning how to exercise them most effectively as we age — that hold the key. Strength training for older adults was once seen as out of the question by many medical professionals, but Hunter

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points out that, since the 1990s, it has increasingly become recognized as a key to better health and functioning for everyday living. The project aims to finetune that principle with an eye toward developing routines better suited to the physiology of the aging body. Our muscles fall into two general categories: in layman’s terms “fast” and “slow” muscle fibers, Fitts explains. When we’re young, a combination of fast and slow muscle fibers is prevalent in our musculature. As we age, the slow fibers increasingly dominate. And the two groups of muscle fibers can respond differently to training. The standard workout practiced by everyone from teenage swimmers or football players to active middle-age gym rats — rapid lifts and squats and other actions with heavy weights — trains their fast muscle fibers well. But for the slow muscle fibers

dominant in the elderly, that style of exercise doesn’t work, says Fitts. They need slower movement. This isn’t just yoga or tai chi. The muscles still need to be taxed — “loaded” — during exercise. Taxing doesn’t mean straining, though. The most effective weight exercises only require people to push about 30 percent of the maximum load of which they’re capable, not the 80 percent that you might see the ambitious try to push at a health club. “If you lift at 30 percent of your max load, you actually will get more power over time than you would with the 80 percent load,” Fitts says. Two groups of older adults will take part in the study. One group will do traditional leg muscle training with weights equivalent to 80 percent of their maximum capacity at normal speed, so 1 to 2 seconds per lift. The second will use less weight, 30 percent of maximum, and far more slowly. Instead of typical eight-repetition intervals, they’ll lift for as many repetitions as they can in a single round. Before and after the training, the researchers will compare strength, as well as fatigue in the nervous system and in the muscle using a variety of instruments and techniques: transcranial magnetic stimulation, magnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging, and muscle biopsies, studying single muscle fibers for their contractile function and metabolic characteristics, Hunter says. Hunter and Fitts have long crossed paths in their work at the university but had never before worked jointly on research. Now, their disparate disciplines are helping the project span a range of research areas. Hunter’s team will work directly with human subjects who will learn a collection of new fitness techniques. Fitts, working primarily at the laboratory bench, will focus quite literally on human tissues of the research subjects and how they change in response to aging and exercise. “It was a natural collaboration,” Fitts says. Other collaborators at Marquette are Dr. Alexander Ng, associate professor of exercise science; Dr. Mehdi Maadooliat, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science; and Dr. Carolyn Smith, clinical professor of physical therapy and executive director of the Marquette University Medical Clinic. An additional team based at Ball State University will examine molecular biological data. Marquette undergraduate and graduate students will also take part by working on the various research teams based here. Both find a certain personal resonance in the work. Hunter — who has competed in many triathlons — has gravitated

Dr. Sandra Hunter’s research in exercise science has shown that staying active can confer as much as a “10-year advantage” on women in their 70s.

to working with older people since first making the transition from gym teacher to the academic world of exercise science in her native Australia. Having worked with older patients during and since her graduate studies, she has come to deeply appreciate their distinctive traits and the stories she hears from them, not to mention their punctuality. “They turn up early to appointments!” she says with delight. For Fitts, who still maintains an active running regimen and does regular weight training at the age of 73, there’s a striking contrast between their project and the work that seems to dominate the research agenda in the world of athletic training. “You’ve got lots and lots of people working to try to get the world-class athlete to get 1 second better,” he says. “But you can double the force of an older person with the right type of training.”

Listen to an interview with Hunter and Fitts on WUWM’s Lake Effect program: aging muscles unbound

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the trouble with

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When streets and sidewalks are covered with snow and ice, the solution seems fairly simple: salt, salt and more salt. By Chris Jenkins

Amid this work, the study of chlorides and salt use is a prime example of what he hopes will be many projects that engage Law School colleagues and others at Marquette in important water law and policy discussions. “Chlorides in waterways are toxic to aquatic organisms at certain levels, and they can also affect the quality of drinking water where groundwater wells are in play,” Strifling says. “Chlorides are a particular problem because they’re very difficult to degrade. They don’t break down easily. They’re not removed well in wastewater treatment facilities.” The study is funded by a $45,000 grant from the Water Equipment & Policy Research Center, a partnership among Marquette, the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee, and several Wisconsin businesses and government entities operating under the National Science Foundation’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Center Program. Strifling’s goal is to create a menu of options to help policymakers reduce the transmission of chlorides to waterways, whether it comes through the use of salt for

New research into policies that may reduce the harmful impact of road salt on the environment is one of several projects of the new Water Law and Policy Initiative of the Marquette Law School. Read more about the initiative at water-policy.

“The reason that I got interested in this is that there have been a lot of studies showing that this is a problem, especially in Northern cities,” Strifling says. “But there’s been very little progress in coming up with policies to actually do something about it. … There’s a lot of talk about reducing salt usage, but, when the first storm hits, everybody wants it.”

Potential solutions include legal limits, or taxes on salt use, but Strifling acknowledges neither one is likely. More likely solutions include increased public awareness, green infrastructure programs, such as permeable pavement, that slow the rate at which chlorides are absorbed into water; increased coordination among government agencies on watershed management; and training and certification programs for businesses that use salt, allowing them to market themselves as “green” companies and perhaps granting participating companies a liability waiver to shield them from slip-and-fall-style lawsuits. Strifling will study how each of these potential solutions has worked in other regions across the country and connect with government and business leaders to see how they might be applied in Wisconsin. “Partly because the public isn’t aware of the environmental impacts, but it is aware of the public safety impacts, you’ve got this imbalance between the environmental impacts and the public safety impacts,” he says. “So what can we do about it? That’s where the grant comes in — to take the next step from scientific awareness of the problem to develop policy strategies or legal strategies to combat it.”

Director, Water Law and Policy Initiative, Adjunct Professor of Law

As director, he’s overseeing a range of key projects. He’s teaching a seminar on water law and policy that’s open to students in other colleges, such as engineering, as well as law students. He’s helping law students gain access to new environmental-themed internships. And in developing a policy dimension to Milwaukee’s water expertise, Strifling is joining Marquette colleagues from biological sciences, engineering and other disciplines in advancing the region’s aspirations as a world hub of water-oriented solutions.

Exploring the nexus where water meets law and policy

David Strifling

Strifling, Eng ’00, Law ’04, is the new director of Marquette Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative — a perfect application of his professional expertise, which spans time as a civil engineer who helped design wastewater treatment facilities and an attorney specializing in environmental compliance and litigation.

deicing or through the use of water softeners, another major contributor to the presence of chlorides in water sources.


But what if using too much salt contributes to the contamination of a water supply? David Strifling is studying the amount of chloride that gets absorbed into surface and groundwater sources in Northern climates such as Wisconsin and wants to come up with potential solutions to help keep salt use below levels that are considered harmful to the environment and local water supplies.

Read coverage of Strifling’s leadership on Wisconsin water quality issues: the trouble with salt

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illustrations by sophie casson

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Shortly after Dr. Alyson Gerdes arrived on campus in 2004, she opened a childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder specialty clinic in Marquette’s Center for Psychological Services to provide treatment to families in need. The associate professor of psychology quickly learned that a significant share of these families was Latino, struggling to find local health care practitioners who could speak Spanish and recognize the group’s cultural needs. In the decade since, Gerdes’ efforts to help Latino children with ADHD include developing improved assessment tools for Spanish-speaking children, providing Latino mothers and fathers with parent training sessions in their native tongue, and, most recently, adapting treatments to remove culturally conflicting elements. The strategic use of timeouts, for example, is a mainstay of standard parent training modules, says Gerdes. “But we found our Latino parents had two major issues: It was pretty incongruent with their notion of familism, to isolate a child from the rest of the family, and timeouts were not a strong enough discipline for a child who demonstrated repeated disrespect to elders.” If Gerdes had arrived on campus more recently, she would have encountered a university actively collaborating on efforts to improve the well-being of

the Latino community. The roots of the collaboration formed around the same time Gerdes joined Marquette with two colleagues — Drs. Lisa Edwards and Lucas Torres — who would later join the Marquette faculty but were then enrolled in postdoctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame. “We were in awe at how well Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies brought people together from different disciplines and fostered collaboration in research,” says Edwards, now an associate professor of counselor education and counseling psychology in Marquette’s College of Education. “We wanted to develop a similar intellectual space to generate and collaborate on Latino research here at Marquette, and we knew that would fill a great need in the Milwaukee community,” adds Torres, an associate professor of psychology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. More than a year ago, the two began the launch of Marquette’s Latina/o Well-being Research Initiative. Though Torres and Edwards teach different disciplines in different colleges, they share firsthand cultural experiences that motivate their pursuits of

research for a burgeoning community

Dr. Lisa Edwards

By Sarah Painter Koziol


As Latino populations continue to grow nationwide, Marquette researchers collaborate to address their needs.

Associate Professor, Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

Research for a burgeoning community

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“We will be much more successful at generating grant dollars and providing sustainable resources to the Latino community if we can pool our resources instead of each of us working alone,” says Gerdes. “There are some fantastic opportunities that would not be available without the initiative.” Torres agrees. His interdisciplinary adaptive functioning research project with Dr. Grant Silva, an assistant professor of philosophy, would not have happened without the initiative. The two are studying how Latinos personally grow from negative cultural experiences, like discrimination, and use them as motivation to achieve higher goals or view the world in more complex and sophisticated ways. “Can we learn why some Latinos demonstrate this resiliency and then apply it to others? We want to share what we learn so others might find that same success,” says Torres.

Culturally relevant research mentors Edwards’ current research involves the mental well-being of Latina mothers during pregnancy and postpartum. She has witnessed a lack of support for Latinas at a critical juncture when women may already

Stay up to date on this initiative:

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Edwards has completed the first phase of this research involving practitioner feedback and plans to talk with the mothers themselves to determine what resources are needed and where. Edwards is collaborating with graduate students on this project; another focus of the initiative is to encourage research mentoring and training with undergraduate and graduate students. “We take the idea of teaching students culturally relevant research seriously,” she says. “The only way to get a new generation of researchers that is sensitive to that is training them early and getting them involved.” Doctoral student Leticia Vallejo, Arts ’10, Grad ’13, who works in Torres’ Mental Health Disparities Lab, concurs. “I had no idea that there were researchers who studied some of the experiences I had had, and I was excited about the possibility of being involved in that process,” she says. Improving the well-being of Latinos requires better access to resources; more culturally aware service providers; and an alliance with the community organizations that serve the Latino population, according to Torres and Edwards. Establishing partnerships with these organizations is so imperative that the two sought the advice of several of them as they structured this initiative. Al Castro, health research program director of the United Community Center, was one of those connections, and he agrees with the symbiotic nature of his center’s relationship with the LWRI. “The United Community Center is able to provide valuable guidance, as well as community access,” he says. “In turn, UCC and the Latino community we serve would benefit from the expansion of structured, evidence-based interventions and strategies to improve the health and well-being of Latinos in Milwaukee.”

Associate Professor, Psychology

The LWRI is a young year old, and already the initial dialogue has energized the estimated 25–30 faculty, administrators and students who came forward. In March, the LWRI and Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion will sponsor speaker Dr. William Perez, an associate professor of education at Claremont Graduate University who is an expert on college students without documentation, or DREAMers, as they are commonly known. The co-directors are excited about the initiative’s first public effort to raise awareness of Latino issues, especially in this context of higher education.

“It’s a crisis here, as it is everywhere,” Edwards explains. “The stress a mother experiences has a profound impact on her baby for years to come. It’s an important area for intervention.”

Dr. Lucas Torres

The co-directors summoned the diverse and numerous campus players who were already involved in Latinorelated issues, such as Gerdes, with the hope that once introduced they would collaborate on interdisciplinary research projects driven by genuine community needs and, in turn, earn more grant money. The LWRI’s ultimate goal is to improve Latino well-being: an umbrella for efforts addressing disparities in mental and physical health care; immigration; education for those who are undocumented; and the role of family.

feel vulnerable and isolated. Often lacking insurance and unable to find bilingual and bicultural practitioners, some Latina mothers also face additional stressors such as safety concerns, complex family systems, trauma from migration and discrimination.


Latino-related research, as well as a belief that collaboration would be the most productive path to impacting Latino communities near and far.

research for a burgeoning community

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Strange Contradictions A converted academic outsider sorts through the shifting cultural undercurrents of the period that gave rise to Nazism. By Matt Hrodey

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marquette university discover 2016

Dr. Peter Staudenmaier may be the only preschool teacherturned-anarchist-turned German history professor in the world. He’s certainly the only one at Marquette.

Public Library. “I finally threw in the towel,” he says, “became a graduate student and, after about six months, realized it was absolutely the right decision.”

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in German literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Staudenmaier lived a semi-bohemian life in Madison for several years, working as a preschool teacher and daycare provider while helping run the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, an independent bookseller near the university.

With academic affiliation, his life quickly changed. He made it to Germany to sift through the national archives; earned a doctorate in modern European history from Cornell University in 2010, joined Marquette in 2011 and, last year, won the Sharon Abramson Research Grant for the Study of the Holocaust, which funded research in Munich and Berlin.

Compact and bespectacled, Staudenmaier followed an unusual path to his current position as one of the world’s leading experts in German esoteric movements and Nazism and where the two intersect. As a bookstore employee of limited means, he met with professors and asked if he could sit in on their philosophy, history and environmental studies classes free of charge. Most said yes. “Those were very special experiences for me,” he says because he loved batting ideas around a table with full-time graduate students.

Closely involved with what he calls the “anarchist” and “radical environmental” movements in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Staudenmaier held onto his independent streak. He has written important studies of anthroposophy and the role of the occult in Nazi Germany, which he says has been wildly overstated in popular media, although such esoteric movements were, at the time, a prominent part of German life. Steiner’s movement was just one of many that attempted to make sense of new technologies and a widening German world, according to Staudenmaier. “All of the tensions that modernity produces, it’s like we get them in especially condensed form in modern Germany,” he notes.

“All of the tensions that modernity produces, it’s like we get them in especially condensed form in modern Germany.”


Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

Assistant Professor, History

Unlike the titular character from Good Will Hunting, Staudenmaier didn’t just look down on the academy; he worked hard to build a career outside of it as an independent researcher. Now an assistant professor of history, he said he started out as a “committed anti-academic,” researching and writing in a half-dozen different subject areas.

From early on, he had the makings of a scholar. As an undergraduate, he co-authored a book chapter on the environmentally conscious wing of the Nazi Party, and in 2004 he contributed the “Fascism” entry to the Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. “I wanted to show that you can do real, important scholarship outside of the university world,” he says. When another paper on an insular esoteric tradition called anthroposophy elicited outrage from some of its modern-day champions, he returned to his sources and became even more fascinated with the subject, which became a focus of his work. Founded by the German thinker Rudolf Steiner, who died in 1925, anthroposophy was perhaps more influential than followed, spawning the organic biodynamic farming movement, the Waldorf strain of alternative education, a kind of expressive dance called eurythmy and a pro-humanist approach to banking. Steiner’s neo-Platonic mysticism, which claims access to a spiritual plane, continues to have adherents in Germany. But, as an independent researcher, the closest Staudenmaier could get to the country was a week spent poring over archives at the New York

While exploring this microcosm, Staudenmaier has come across more than a few peculiarities. For one, a 2013 paper in Environmental History described an extensive network of biodynamic and organic farms belonging to the Third Reich, including plantations at Auschwitz and Dachau, the latter a “sizable” operation that produced “medicinal herbs and other organic goods for the SS.” A subset of Nazi leaders embraced anthroposophy’s teachings because they meshed well with the party’s vision for a more sustainable and productive German peasantry. Still others, including the Gestapo, persecuted biodynamic farming, anthroposophy and other esoteric movements as fraudulently patriotic and a threat to the Reich. The history presented by Staudenmaier is a complicated one and continues in his 2014 book, Between Occultism and Nazism: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era. In 1941, a “huge crackdown” by anti-esoteric Nazis all but severed the party’s ties to anthroposophy and only allowed the SS plantations to continue if they promised not to espouse Steiner’s teachings. Staudenmaier says there’s no real evidence of Hitler himself ever subscribing to an occult or esoteric tradition. The deeper Staudenmaier follows this line of research, he says, “the more I realized the occult groups are interesting in their own right. Forget about what happens to them after 1933.”

strange contradictions

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On the frontier where dentistry meets physics, engineering and other scientific fields, Dr. Lobat Tayebi fashions cutting-edge health solutions.

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By Becky Dubin Jenkins


Dr. Lobat Tayebi

Director of Research and Associate Professor, School of Dentistry


As Dr. Lobat Tayebi walks briskly around her lab, a space completed only 15 months ago, she smiles as she points out the equipment in the vast space on the lower level of the School of Dentistry. The envisionTEC 3–D Bioplotter, Kinexus pro+ rheometer, Netzsch Differential Scanning Calorimeter 404, imaging suite, cell culture room and other instruments. She smiles more broadly when she shares the stories of the fruitful national and international collaborations leading to what she says will be powerful research outcomes. “Attracting the best research visitors nationally and internationally to our lab is crucial. Making connections, I think, is a strength of mine,” says Tayebi, the School of Dentistry’s director of research and an associate professor. Only two years ago, it may have been hard to imagine that somebody with Tayebi’s background — she has a bachelor of science in physics, a master of science in engineering physics and doctorate in applied science, not dentistry — would be directing research at a school that has been preparing oral health care leaders for more than 120 years. But Tayebi believes focusing on the disciplines’ differences is limiting and that the future of human health will be driven by “innovations resulting from the convergence of medicine with engineering and computational, physical, chemical, life and social sciences.” To make that convergence a reality, the nearly 20 researchers in Tayebi’s lab — biomedical scientists, engineers, and dental and post-doctoral students — are hoping their work in the interdisciplinary field of tissue engineering will be a huge boost to patients with large craniofacial defects. Such defects result from trauma or conditions like oral cancer, locally aggressive benign tumors and more. Normal treatment protocol for a patient can mean using microvascular free flaps, or transplantation of blood-rich tissue from one site of the body to another; autogenous bone or skin grafts, which are also derived from sources within the same individual; xenografts from one species to another; or reconstruction with synthetic materials. But transplantation and grafting don’t guarantee success, especially with defects larger than 5 centimeters. They traditionally require many surgical interventions, follow-up surgeries are costly, and complications can range from pain and restricted lifestyles to death. “I ask myself: ‘What can I implement in my lab that uses my knowledge and experience?’ ” she says. Right now, that’s 3D printing. Tayebi and her team are working to create novel bioactive scaffolds, or implants, which serve as templates for in situ oral tissue repair and regeneration.

The 3D-printed scaffolds must be treated with stem cells and growth factors to induce regeneration. Other considerations for critically sized defects are vascularization and blood vessel formation. “We need to use the growing era of personalized medicine and produce technologies that promote enhanced regeneration, especially for elderly patients,” she says. A proposal that won funding from Marquette’s 2015 strategic innovation fund was a hybrid 3D-printed biodegradable scaffold with mechanical properties like human bone, which is made of FDA-approved materials and considered ready for commercialization. This allows tailoring to each patient’s needs. “Our primary results verify 100 times enhancement in the mechanical strength of our new design scaffolds compared with conventional ones, which was a huge achievement,” she says. Intellectual property protection for the invention is under way.

“I want to do something for human beings, for human health,” Tayebi says.

Among other projects in Tayebi’s lab, one is determining a better storage method for avulsed, or forcibly detached, adult teeth of children from events like playground trauma. If a tooth is out of its socket for more than 30 minutes, it likely will be lost within five years. The group is studying how to preserve periodontal ligament cells and identify an inexpensive, readily available storage medium.

But, in some ways, these projects are just a beginning. Tayebi is as adept at bringing together cross-disciplinary collaborators as she is writing grants for research dollars. She was the only faculty member to have two proposals funded in the first round of Marquette’s 2015 strategic innovation and submitted 14 pre-proposals as a first step in seeking 2016 funding. “There are many ideas coming out of the lab. I would have had more if I had been able to write all of them,” she says.

Learn about Tayebi’s two projects funded by Marquette’s strategic innovation fund: convergence

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research in brief



Dr. Lisa Hanson

Professor, Nursing

The pursuit of a less-invasive remedy for a common but concerning infection in pregnant women.

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Dr. Lisa Hanson knew years ago that she had found a promising area of research: suspecting the use of probiotics in pregnant women could reduce the occurrence of strep B infections that can harm their babies. But what Hanson, a professor in the College of Nursing and director of the university’s nurse-midwifery program, hadn’t expected was the long, challenging — yet fulfilling — road to proving her case scientifically. Routine prenatal screening of pregnant women has reduced potentially serious group B strep infections, or GBS, in newborns. When a pregnant woman tests positive for GBS, she receives multiple doses of intravenous antibiotics during labor. With her colleague, associate professor emerita of nursing Dr. Leona VandeVusse, a fellow certified nurse-midwife, Hanson wanted to take antibiotics out of the equation, or at least reduce the need for them. That led to a small pilot study that found that women receiving probiotic therapy showed significantly reduced colonization with GBS compared with a control group. The findings — published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing in 2014 — earned them the best article award from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

marquette university discover 2016

Verifying these findings requires a large externally funded, randomized controlled clinical trial. But after submitting an application for NIH funding, and having it judged “fundable,” Hanson learned of a hitch. Because the federal government maintained Hanson’s team was proposing a pharmaceutical use of this common probiotic supplement, the two needed to submit an Investigational New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before reapplying for the grant. Hanson describes this nine-month process as intense and rigorous but fascinating. With the FDA process completed and approved, they are preparing a new application for an NIH Research Grant (R01). When those expected funds are approved, Hanson and her colleague will study the probiotic Florajen3. This commercially available product contains a combination of freeze-dried live probiotic cultures and is similar to activeculture yogurt but in higher amounts. The probiotics are thought to encourage more “good” bacteria in vaginal flora, creating less opportunity for GBS to take hold. Says Hanson: “A real goal of ours is to reduce the need for antibiotics with potentially harmful side effects for the mother and baby. More probiotics and fewer antibiotics could help improve health.” ANN CHRISTENSON

The next time you’re surfing the Web on your iPhone while watching your smart TV and downloading a book to your Kindle, take a moment to consider that you’re simultaneously using a variety of embedded systems — computers fully contained within a device for the purpose of controlling that device. Each of those gadgets — and almost any consumer electronics device — is similarly built, incorporating microcontrollers or microprocessors, RAM and storage, much like your personal computer. Because of the advancement of technology, these embedded systems have grown very complex, with multiple processing cores and heterogeneous hardware and software components, built by different manufacturers but expected to work together flawlessly. Embedded systems designers have the daunting task of building systems that work together in a small footprint while addressing uncertainties like voltage and temperature variations.

“Think of it as a software suite ... but specifically developed for use by embedded system designers.”


Dr. Cristinel Ababei

Dr. Cristinel Ababei understands these related challenges better than most. Before becoming an assistant professor in the Opus College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he designed systems in the private sector. Recently, Ababei received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a new design method to address the uncertainties and increased complexities in system design.

Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Smart tools for designing smarter devices

“Basically, I’m building a software tool for designers to develop systems that are more robust against uncertainties,” he says. “Think of it as a software suite, similar to how you might think of Microsoft Office as a suite of programs, but specifically developed for use by embedded system designers.” According to Ababei, one of the biggest design challenges is optimizing against unknown variables, a challenge his new system overcomes by introducing enhanced evolutionary algorithms that directly address design uncertainties at a system level. “The main goal is to improve reliability and performance of future complex embedded systems,” he says. Ababei’s future-based outlook is also a driving reason behind why he made this new method open source, meaning it is free for designers to use and improve upon. “I want other people to build on it, to compare results,” he says. “This tool should evolve as system design evolves so designers can continue to keep pace with technology.” JESSE LEE

research in brief

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research in brief

The division of students into tracks based on aptitude testing is deeply embedded in U.S. high schools. The practice also embeds deep racial divisions, says Dr. Sharon Chubbuck, associate professor of education. “It’s common to have all-white honors classes,” she says. The result: “We miss the development of an awful lot of talent.”

Teachers have adjusted methods to a wider range of skill levels — “something that’s very difficult,” notes Ellwood, who brings to the project three decades of experience in the Milwaukee Public Schools, including as teacher, principal and 35-school regional executive. Although removing tracking is certainly difficult politically, the hardest work may involve confronting racial norms and expectations of parents, teachers and students. The school has had structured hardhitting “courageous conversations about race” that have left some participants in tears.

The full story ... has yet to unfold, but it strikes at what Ellwood calls “the most pressing and demanding challenge in American education today —achieving racial equity.”

Dr. Cynthia Ellwood

Results covering the first student cohort to spend four years under the system show that the school’s ACT test scores and Advanced Placement test results reached historic highs. The classes actually grew more demanding, researchers found. Midway through their research, the researchers are sure they’re studying an undertaking that will resonate nationally. The full story involving many important actors has yet to unfold, but it strikes at what Ellwood calls “the most pressing and demanding challenge in American education today — achieving racial equity.” BRUCE MURPHY


Read about the project of Chubbuck and Ellwood funded by the strategic innovation fund:

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Clinical Associate Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership

More than four years after the idea won approval over objections from some community members, this experiment is continuing through the efforts of administrators, teachers, board members and students. Once divided into four different tracks (based on one score from a standardized test taken in eighth grade), the school now places more than 90 percent of freshmen in rigorous English, history and biology classes where honors credit is earned through individual performance.


So when Chubbuck and Dr. Cynthia Ellwood, clinical associate professor in educational policy and leadership, learned of a bold experiment to dismantle tracking in a diverse school district outside a major U.S. city, they craved opportunities to learn more. Eventually, they were granted extensive access to the school and district, becoming the first academic team to study this important case. As part of the research protocol, the high school will not be named.




Dr. Sharon Chubbuck

Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Studies, Educational Policy and Leadership


When high school tracks are dismantled

After completing early work with RR spectroscopy at Marquette while earning his doctorate, he worked with the world’s leading expert in the technique during a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. There, he came to realize that, using pulsed lasers and rapid mixing devices, the technique could provide exquisite structural definition even for reaction intermediates that exist for only a millionth of a second. (Intermediates are chemical species that fleetingly arise and disappear during the progress of a reaction cycle.) Kincaid’s research group spent the next quarter century divided into two distinct teams. One studied reactive heme enzyme intermediates, which perform many crucial roles in human physiology. The other group used RR and other methods to study solar photochemistry and solar energy conversion, including the molecular structures of photoactive molecules inside tiny inorganic particles known as zeolites.

“It was tough because it couldn’t have been two more different things,” he says, reflecting on the two research projects sustained through a 30-year string of grants — about $6.5 million all told — from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. These days, Kincaid, a Lawrence Haggerty Faculty Award for Research Excellence winner whose work has been cited approximately 4,500 times, focuses on one topic: sorting out how heme enzymes actually perform their remarkable functions. A few enzymes being actively studied by the group, with funding from the NIH, are targets for anti-cancer drug development. The studies being conducted by Kincaid’s group and others may support such efforts by providing useful insights on relevant enzymatic mechanisms. A former Wehr Professor and Way-Klingler Fellow, and current Habermann Chair, Kincaid also will be tackling his first reviews this spring as a roster member of the Molecular Structure and Function review panel of the NIH. “It’s certainly not a trivial task,” he says. “Each of the two sessions per year will likely entail about four or five weeks of full-time effort.” JOE DIGIOVANNI

research in brief

Professor, Chemistry, and Pfletschinger Habermann Chair

When Dr. James Kincaid was a graduate student in chemistry at Marquette in the 1970s, working alongside renowned professor Dr. Kazuo Nakamoto, he heard of a powerful technique that was beginning to be used to structurally characterize simple molecules. He could hardly sleep, thinking of important problems that could be attacked with this tool, Resonance Raman Spectroscopy.

Dr. James Kincaid

Dr. James Kincaid uses Resonance Raman Spectroscopy to reveal the inner workings of important enzymes.


Freeze-frame snapshots of fleeting intermediates

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Literature as lens into the law What does 18th-century British fiction say about that period’s dramatic changes in marriage law?

Dr. Melissa Ganz

Despite flourishing as an undergraduate literature major, Dr. Melissa Ganz hedged her career bets by attending law school. There, Ganz found herself drawn to an intriguing academic mini-movement focusing on the intersections of law and literature. Tackling a major law school project on a celebrated 1870 New York murder trial, she pored over “the trial transcripts as if they were literature.” Realizing “where my heart really lay,” she followed law school with graduate study at Yale University, where she earned her M.A. in American studies and a Ph.D. in English literature. An assistant professor of English at Marquette since 2012, Ganz continues to push her interest in law and literature through teaching and research, including a book project on the role of marriage and marriage law in 18th-century British fiction to which she devoted a 2015 Way Klingler Young Scholar sabbatical.


Assistant Professor, English


Pamela marries in secret, a scene from Samuel Richardson’s novel, Pamela (1740). Engraved by L. Tuchy, 1745.

Although little explored by legal-minded literary scholars, “the Enlightenment was an important period of change in marriage law,” Ganz says. English fiction from the first half of the century shows the dangers of the minimally documented system of marriage that prevailed under the canon law. Exposing the opportunities for fraud, coercion

and infidelity that abounded, the eponymous protagonist of Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1722), for example, is abandoned by one husband before forming a series of bigamous unions. Novelists later in the century support the growing authority the state came to exert over marriage with the passage of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act in 1753. Women had new protections from nefarious suitors, unless forced to elope to Scotland where a more lax approach to marriage still prevailed, as happens at gunpoint to a heroine in Frances Burney’s Camilla (1796). At the same time, a novel such as Burney’s Cecilia (1782) reveals a downside to the exclusive authority the law granted fathers and male guardians in consenting to marriages involving those under 21, portraying Cecilia’s male guardians as heartless mercenaries. Like those of many contemporaries, says Ganz, “Burney’s novels attempt to shore up aspects of the Marriage Act while showing that it isn’t perfect.” Next up on Ganz’s research docket: literary treatment of crime and criminal law, a subject she has enjoyed exploring in a pulse-quickening course, Legal Fictions of the Enlightenment. MEGAN KNOWLES

Read about a humanities colloquia series initiated by Ganz and supported by Marquette’s strategic innovation fund:

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GETTING A GRIP ON AMERICA’S PENSION PROBLEM The United States has a pension problem — and Dr. Kevin Rich knows it. With municipalities nationwide facing an estimated $4 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities, the assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business Administration was compelled to investigate. Rich and his collaborator, Dr. Jean Zhang of Virginia Commonwealth University, set out to identify governance factors associated with better-funded pension plans. “Given that pension benefits for municipal employees are often fairly protected, some even by state constitutions, the status quo is unsustainable,” Rich says. “To meet promised obligations, many localities are going to have to raise taxes or cut services in the future.” In the project, Rich zeroed in on one particular governance factor: local citizen oversight. His hunch that healthier pension plans are found in cities that employ greater citizen oversight was correct. Using a sample of 84 locally administered municipal benefit pension plans, Rich found that unfunded pension liabilities are negatively associated with provisions that allow direct citizen participation in the legislative process, as well as electoral voter activism in the form of recent recall attempts. Put simply, citizen oversight mechanisms do play an important role in the pension funding decisions of municipal governments. “Our findings have direct policy implications that can be enacted by citizen voters,” Rich says. “More generally, they reinforce the importance of an active citizenry in the fiscal oversight of government.” CHRISTOPHER STOLARSKI

How social media challenges state authority For Dr. Nur Uysal, assistant professor of strategic communication in the Diederich College, the parallel evolution of communication technology and public diplomacy is a fairly new, but crucial, concept in communication research, as explored in her notable study, “Going for the Jugular in Public Diplomacy: How adversarial publics using social media are challenging state legitimacy.” Co-written with Dr. Rhonda Zaharna of American University, the study departs from much public diplomacy scholarship, largely pursued from a state-centric perspective. This study shows how the traditional view of a state’s people as passive “audiences” has evolved in practice to a view of them as “public partners” or often now as “adversarial stakeholders.” In other words, because of this shift from members of the public as consumers of media content to producers, states are “losing control of defining the relational dynamic with publics using social media. They no longer have the exclusive upper hand in defining these relationships,” Uysal observes. “Going for the Jugular” received the 2014 top faculty paper award from the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association. She received the same top paper award from the NCA in late 2015, and her doctoral dissertation received a top award from the International Communication Association in 2013. With technology and public diplomacy both evolving rapidly — and interesting momentum occurring in other areas of Uysal’s research interests such as shareholder activism — she should have no shortage of rich material for future inquiries. KATHARINE MILLER

research in brief

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A look at some novel ways the Marquette community is igniting innovation and entrepreneurship

Beyond the peer-reviewed research covered throughout Discover, the Marquette community is embracing innovation in a range of forms, including through unique partnerships, expanded entrepreneurial resources, and new solutions to problems in our community and around the world. Read on to see how Marquette is setting the pace in that kind of innovation, too. REPORTING BY LAUREN BROWN, KURT CHANDLER, STEPHEN FILMANOWICZ, GUY FIORITA AND EDGAR MENDEZ

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All business

Ahoya Inc.

Flipping the script

Imaginations in motion

To double research funding in five years, Marquette will need a big increase in corporate-sponsored research — and Dr. Carmel Ruffolo is focused on helping make that happen.

An explosion of new programs supporting entrepreneurship and social innovation is fueling a renewed startup culture at Marquette.

Prosecutors focused on crime prevention are just one example of what’s unique about the collaborative effort to promote assets and reduce crime on Milwaukee’s near west side.

Marquette’s new strategic innovation fund helps bring to life a wealth of previously untapped ideas from faculty, students and staff.

marquette university discover 2016

She means business Dr. Carmel Ruffolo is serious about boosting research by strengthening ties to the private sector 1 Marquette’s goal of doubling research funding in the next five years — announced at Dr. Michael R. Lovell’s Presidential Address in early 2015 — would be a pipe dream without a sound strategy and a talented team to support the work of faculty. Dr. Carmel Ruffolo is the newest member of that team. As associate vice president in the Office of Research and Innovation, headed by Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, she’s the first person in Marquette history charged with focusing on growing corporate research engagement and increasing research commercialization, or technology transfer, from faculty research programs.

Her role flows naturally from her experience leading academic research labs in microbiology and, more recently, excelling in a joint leadership position at UW–Milwaukee and UW– Parkside that made her a recognizable presence on regional development issues, water technology and corporate partnerships. The following interview excerpts cover five key issues relating to her work. On the changing researchfunding landscape: The reality of the world right now is that federal funding for research is not increasing. The days of solely relying on the federal government for research dollars are gone. The smart universities recognize that … So we have to be diverse in how we obtain research dollars. That means the corporate engagement piece, and also the tech transfer piece, that can grow our research funding and yield the benefits that come with that growth.

On better understanding the areas she’s helping Marquette target: Corporate-sponsored research involves our students, faculty or staff working on research projects with corporations, not just within this region but nationwide. Tech transfer involves looking at the diverse innovative work we have on campus and protecting that intellectual property by applying for patents or copyrights, etc. … When we have that patent, there are a number of options, including licensing it, which a lot of times we like to do. That may or may not involve a company. So tech transfer doesn’t have to involve a corporation, but it often does. On the benefits of increased corporate engagement: It’s about more than money for research. It’s about building trust and strengthening relationships. It’s about getting experience for our students. The more

relationships we have with companies around the nation, the more opportunities our students have to go work for these companies and do internships and co-ops. On addressing challenges involved in pursuing the university’s goal: As we move forward, we really need to be aware that faculty are not just researchers. They’re teachers and mentors. They have so many roles they play. So we want to make sure they have strategies and resources to address the challenges they face.

On Dr. Lovell’s leadership on this front: Based on his experience in Pittsburgh, he came to Milwaukee with the understanding that university research is changing and, to really make an impact, corporate engagement is vital … He’s very experienced in collaborating with businesses of all sizes. In fact, he’s been recognized as a national leader in bringing corporations and universities together.



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Ahoya Inc. Inside the university’s new and Jesuit-influenced startup culture. “Young and hungry.” That’s how Sam Wesley describes the entrepreneurial climate at Marquette. “From the administration to the faculty and right down to the students, it seems everyone is hungry to develop their own ventures and promote other initiatives. And this is just the beginning,” Wesley says. 2 He should know. Wesley, a junior IT and marketing student, and Andrew Hampel, Eng ’15, founded Seiva Technologies, an intelligent clothing maker that developed garments that measure muscle activity for therapy patients.

president for research and innovation. See story on page 23.) “There’s a lot going on, and much of it is student led,” she says. “Their initiatives have inspired us to create a culture of entrepreneurism on campus and help spur more ideas.”

The two first met at the Commons, a 10-week program launched in 2014 that brings together Milwaukee-area college students and mentors to develop their entrepreneurial talents. Michael Hostad of the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee, or MiKE initiative, says Marquette students are playing a key role in the success of the Commons: “Of the 143 students from 23 colleges and universities in southeast Wisconsin participating in the program during its first year, 54 were from Marquette.”

An important complement to these purely entrepreneurial efforts is programs that focus on the social aspect of entrepreneurship. Kelsey Otero, social innovation coordinator in the Office of Research and Innovation, oversees programs that seek to promote socially minded business ventures. “President Lovell is a champion for innovation and has created a culture of entrepreneurship and social innovation that fit with our Jesuit mission to be men and women for others,” she says. “These initiatives give us an opportunity to support ideas that will benefit and transform Milwaukee and the rest of the country.”

Hostad credits Marquette President Michael R. Lovell with creating “numerous opportunities for students to learn about entrepreneurship and what it means to be innovative.” One of them? Lovell helped MiKE and Startup Milwaukee launch the Commons by hosting more than 20 presidents and chancellors from area colleges and universities. Taking advantage of another of these programs, Seiva placed first out of 25 startups competing for the $10,000 prize in the April 2015 Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship’s third annual ImpactNext Business Model Competition. Megan Carver, associate director of the Kohler Center, says this is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur at Marquette. As an example, she points to new initiatives like the Dorm Fund, a student-run venture capital firm that invests up to $5,000 in student-run companies, and the Marquette Enterprise Seed Fund, which partners with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to provide awards of $25,000 and $50,000 to up to six student- or faculty-run businesses per year. (The fund is coordinated by Dr. Carmel Ruffolo, associate vice 2 4

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Otero highlights three programs that promote social entrepreneurs on campus. First is the $25,000 Good Money Challenge. Held in partnership with the Brady Corp., it is a pitch competition much like Shark Tank but for social entrepreneurs. Next is Boost, a three-day program during which social entrepreneurs work with business mentors on everything from financial model basics to target segmentation and marketing. Finally, Marquette University Law School offers the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic and free legal services to startups. It will be interesting to see which entrepreneurial ideas succeed and what is learned from the process of supporting these initiatives, says Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation. “It’s an exciting time, and I’m sure that next year and beyond we will still be refining, adapting, and increasing our support of innovation and entrepreneurism at Marquette.” GUY FIORITA

case study

Compost Crusader




Photo courtesy of Dori Zori, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

Flipping the script Prosecutors focused on crime prevention are just one way the new effort to revitalize Milwaukee’s near west side is so unique. Organized like never before, the near west side stretches from Marquette’s campus west to Miller Valley.

It’s hard to find someone who’s benefitted more from Marquette’s social innovation and entrepreneurship programs than Melissa Tashjian. The founder of Compost Crusader, a commercial compost business repurposing food waste from restaurants, grocers and schools, Tashjian has participated in three programs and each has helped her business grow.

“I applied for the Good Money Challenge because I thought it would bring my business to the next level. For two months, I worked with my mentor, who helped me with financial basics like how to price my service. Plus, with the $7,000 second-place prize, I was able to purchase compostable bags, upgrade my truck and refit our dumpsters.”

Tashjian’s next step was to apply to the Boost program, which she says helped her learn how to run a successful business. “I sat for five hours with one of the mentors going through everything with a fine-tooth comb. Thanks to Boost, I changed my pricing structure, I learned how to market myself better and I feel more comfortable running the business,” she says.

Finally, Tashjian contacted the Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, which helped her draft a contract and write her executive order. “I am not sure where my business would be without these programs. Trying to be the master of everything when you are the master of none is just too hard. Their help took my company to the next level. It was a huge confidence booster and reaffirmed that I am not doing this alone,” she says.

3 Inside a storefront in the Mid City Shopping Center about 20 blocks northwest of campus, the city’s top prosecutor, District Attorney John Chisholm, Arts ’86, stands before an 8-foot-wide wall map of Milwaukee’s near west side. He points out the locations of the “Big 5” — Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors, the Potawatomi Business Development Corp. and Marquette.

“These anchors, along with the residents and our office, represent a unique opportunity here,” says Chisholm. In referring to the main parties behind an ambitious effort to revitalize and sustain Milwaukee’s near west side, it’s significant that Chisholm mentions his own office. By trade, prosecutors work in a reactionary, often adversarial, manner. But Chisholm and his newest community prosecution unit are turning that idea on its head. How so? With support from the area’s new umbrella organization, the Near West Side Partners, Chisholm’s team is focusing on problem-solving rather than reacting, says Chris Ladwig, an assistant district attorney who adapted a model that proved itself in other parts of the city in leading the creation of the new unit, the city’s first based in a neighborhood rather than a police district. “We’ve done over 500 strategic interventions in this area,” Ladwig says. “We use environmental design surveys in addition to face-to-face interviews with business leaders, property owners and residents to help us solve problems before they result in crimes.” Chisholm and Ladwig wouldn’t be sitting across a conference table in the unit’s new base in the shopping center on 35th Street if it weren’t for a CEO’s symposium in October 2014 convened by Marquette President Michael R. Lovell and hosted by Keith Wandell, then-CEO of HarleyDavidson. Top executives of five anchor organizations and key neighborhood partners all accepted the invitation, and the discussion yielded a commitment that

extends beyond reducing crime to realizing a broader vision for the area as a thriving place to live, work and play. The five anchor institutions helped launch the Near West Side Partners and are underwriting its $1 million, three-year PARC initiative, which stands for Promoting Assets and Reducing Crime. While also leading development initiatives, including the recruitment of a grocery store (a personal priority of Lovell), PARC is making possible the community prosecution unit and an expanded role for the anti-crime organizing group Safe & Sound. The two partners share office space with the Milwaukee Police Department in the new shopping center “waypoint,” where residents are encouraged to access resources. Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking under director Patrick Kennelly is serving as PARC’s principal investigator, leading a data gathering and analysis effort that spans academic areas such as political science, history and the College of Business Administration, dovetailing nicely with the work of the community prosecution unit. The Center for Peacemaking is gathering data on the positive and negative activity in the area, including, crime, economic spending, commercial and residential vacancies, and more. Much of the “non-traditional data” being tabulated through the center, says Kennelly, is civic engagement. Locations where neighbors gather, where children attend after-school programs and where other positive things happen are plotted on maps with conventional markers such as acts of crime and new business openings. This information is shared with the initiative partners to determine where to deploy resources, says Kennelly, who adds with pride, “the university is using its knowledge to help create change in its own backyard.” EDGAR MENDEZ


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Imaginations in motion A new innovation fund unleashes a wealth of untapped ideas 4 In introducing the strategic innovation fund in 2015, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell challenged faculty, staff, students and alumni to go bold — making available $5 million in seed money for entrepreneurial projects with the potential to improve the university, community and world.


The community roared forth with 275 pre-proposals, which after vetting and consolidation became 180 final proposals, 38 of which received awards in June. “We clearly have a lot of great ideas that have not always had an avenue to get started without this type of seed funding,” says fund coordinator Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation. “We expect that many of these projects will develop into larger-scale and sustainable endeavors.” With a second round of proposals under consideration, here’s a look at a few of the first 38 game-changing ideas:

Examining poverty from multiple directions Housed since 2011 in the Diederich College of Communication, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, a trusted news source covering oft-overlooked city neighborhoods, is becoming a go-to place for searchable information relating to poverty in Milwaukee. Users of a new NNS database will explore correlations between poverty and health statistics, crime and other issues. Tapping into it, a university researcher, nonprofit organizer, city official or anyone else will be able to take a statistical snapshot of how unemployment in certain ZIP codes relates to infant mortality, for example, or thirdgrade test scores or eviction rates. The idea grew out of a series of articles on poverty published in 2014. The series generated considerable interest among community leaders and readers at large, prompting the news service to consider how to gather poverty-related data to contribute to public policymaking. “This data is all publicly available, but not in a way that makes it easy to access and easy to use,” says Editor-in-chief Sharon

McGowan, who leads a team of five. Watch for that to change soon.

An interdisciplinary meeting of the minds

Student-driven water solution

To understand how our minds work, it helps to consider physiological brain processes alongside considerations such as how we envision the world and make choices.

Emmanuel Kayiwa, a sophomore majoring in environmental engineering, started working on his membrane desalination system when he was 16. Now he’s a full-fledged member of Milwaukee’s community of water innovators. Thanks to the strategic innovation fund, he and his team are advancing this promising-on-paper concept by acquiring materials to build a laboratory prototype. “The premise of this system is to decrease the power needed to desalinate a cubic meter of ocean water by more than 50 percent,” he explains, comparing his system to the leading method of desalination, reverse osmosis. “It’s pretty feasible. The data looks really good.” Once the table-top-sized prototype is finished and tested, business research is next. Kayiwa’s goal is implementing the system on a large enough scale to supply a town with water for homes and businesses in a country where clean water is most needed.

Read about these and other funded projects:

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Where a student previously might make these connections by “cobbling together relevant courses from different departments,” a project supported by the fund envisions an improved course of study. “The cognitive science major will enable students to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge by drawing on faculty expertise across a wide range of departments, namely philosophy, psychology, computer science, biological sciences and English,” says Dr. Corinne Bloch-Mullins, assistant professor of philosophy and project leader. As with other proposals, student input helped identify the need for this potential major, which would be the first such program at a Jesuit university. “Students expressed interest in a more integrated learning experience,” says Bloch-Mullins. “They wanted to apply what they have learned about the mind and the brain in psychology to questions they discussed in philosophy courses and vice versa.”

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Marquette Research News “But we have to be careful to couple that challenge with support so that we do not degrade our teaching.” Myers points to the university’s strategic plan, in which Research in Action is a primary theme and signals Marquette’s emphasis on scholarly pursuits. The importance placed on “action” puts a clear stamp on the sort of research the university will invest in the most — with a catch.

New provost aims to ignite research on a mission Provost Daniel Myers believes strongly that the best researchers are the best teachers — and vice versa. “We have a lot of individuals like that here at Marquette,” he says, “ … and we want more of them.” A research powerhouse in his earlier days in the academy and the recipient of a top teaching honor, Myers knows what he’s talking about. Achieving tenure in three years and full professorship in another three at the University of Notre Dame, where he spent 17 years before joining Marquette in summer 2015, he has a firsthand grasp of what it takes to increase research productivity while also delivering on the teaching front. As Marquette looks to double its research output during the next five years, Myers is cognizant of the support mechanisms that enable research productivity, and he cautions that such change takes time. “We are driving forward on research, and, to do so, we’re asking how the faculty can do more,” Myers says.

“There are a variety of reasons to choose research projects, and those reasons — from pure intellectual curiosity to direct intervention in a concrete problem — inspire researchers differently,” Myers says. “Not all research has an immediate application, and that’s ok.” For Myers, the greatest concern is not whether more research projects are applied, but whether Marquette’s body of research reflects and is driven by its Catholic, Jesuit roots, something that drew Myers to the university in the first place. “Much of the research at Marquette is driving toward something else, something bigger,” he points out. “Through their research as much as their teaching, our faculty are ultimately trying to have an impact on the world.”

Spreading quickly Marquette research spurs worldwide interest in whether the spread of invasive vines in rain forests is accelerating climate change Scientific interest in Dr. Stefan Schnitzer’s research on the lianas in tropical forests is spreading almost as wildly as the invasive woody vine species itself. Schnitzer, Mellon Distinguished Professor of biological sciences at Marquette and a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, has been studying the spread of invasive vines in Panama’s tropical forests and how it’s affecting the forest’s capacity to capture atmospheric carbon. Because the vines spread quickly by climbing and often covering trees, research that Schnitzer conducted with Marquette post-doctoral fellow Dr. Geertje van der Heijden and a colleague from the University of Minnesota recently found that areas of liana growth had 76 percent less biomass per year than areas without the invasive vines. In basic terms, growing lianas choked the life out of trees below. Consequently, as lianas cover ever

One of the keys to unlocking Marquette’s greater potential, Myers says, is through collaboration, on campus and off. “Collaboration is incredibly important. The research that’s going on between the disciplines —  that’s where the intellectual sparks are really flying.” CHRISTOPHER STOLARSKI

Watch a video of Myers helping students beat finals week stress: marquette research news and updates

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Marquette Research News

more vast stretches of rain forest, they rapidly hinder a forest’s ability to store atmospheric carbon in forest trees, potentially on a scale that could accelerate climate change. When Schnitzer and his team published their new findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October, The New York Times broke the story. Soon, news outlets worldwide, including Smithsonian Science News and The Australian, picked it up. “This has far-reaching ramifications,” Schnitzer told one of the media sources. “The effects of lianas on trees dramatically alter how carbon is accumulated and stored in tropical forests.” LAUREN BROWN

UPDATES Looking deeper inside the body’s master clock Dr. Jennifer Evans, assistant professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Health Sciences, was first featured in the 2015 edition of Discover for her research on the suprachiasmatic nucleus: the body’s “master clock” in the brain. Recently, the neuroscientist received a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund her continued work studying the effects of biological rhythms on human health, specifically related to neuropsychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and depression. “This ‘master clock’ is made up of a network of nearly 20,000 neurons, which all need to coordinate to ensure that biological processes happen at specific times throughout the day,” Evans says.

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“Disruption of this network is linked to a vast number of diseases, including depression, obesity and cancer.” These diseases and health problems are prevalent in shift workers, representing 15 percent of American wage earners. But Evans says the issue has even wider relevance because clock dysfunction is also incurred during aging, jetlag, and nighttime light exposure from increased use of computers and smart phones. “The link is there, but we need to better understand how this coordination behavior adjusts in a changing environment,” Evans says. “To do this, it is imperative that we identify the mechanisms and molecules through which these neurons communicate.” With the new grant, Evans can spotlight specific cell types and see how their functions fit into the bigger picture of the master clock, something she was unable to previously do. “If you think of these cells as an orchestra, how they work together in harmony, I was like a blind conductor,” she says. “I could understand that they were working together, but I was unable to visualize the differences. This grant will allow us not only to see the cells work together but to develop tools for labelling those differences.” JESSE LEE

Intervention extension Since she was profiled in Discover in 2014, Dr. Angelique Harris has concluded that a health care systems change is needed to help residents of Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood.

In an “intervention” project that ended in June 2015, Harris helped devise new approaches for female residents in the neighborhood — 80 percent of whom report being overweight — to encourage healthier lifestyle choices. Now, the associate professor of social and cultural sciences is working with women and men in the neighborhood, but she has found that the residents simply face too many problems for these interventions to be successful in the long term. Instead, she is embarking on a project to train physicians and other health care providers and then plans to assess the effects on patients of these provideroriented interventions. “The thing we can do as researchers to have more of a direct impact is to work with people who already are in the community — doctors and clinicians — and have them take into account that the people are traumatized so that they understand what limitations they do have to access health care,” Harris says. Most people don’t face the myriad issues that these residents do, including high crime, unemployment and incarceration rates. Add to that little time to exercise, no workout facility in the neighborhood and no neighborhood grocery store for residents to buy healthy food. “I’ve never heard the word ‘stress’ used so much until I worked on this project,” she says. Harris and her research team, including Marquette senior Christina Nelson, have applied for a Medical College of Wisconsin grant to fund a workshop to help plan this new project. JOE DIGIOVANNI

Marquette Bookshelf And Have You Changed Your Life?: The Challenge of Listening to the Spiritual in Contemporary Poetry by Dr. Anne Pasero, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and professor of Spanish, and Dr. John Pustejovsky, associate professor of German, explores poets of three continents whose acts of naming even bleak and ordinary experiences lend them dignity, depth and a resonance of the mystery that is opened by words. Biopsychosocial Practice: A Science-Based Framework for Behavioral Health Care by Dr. Timothy Melchert, professor of counselor education and counseling psychology, presents scientific and ethical foundations of the biopsychosocial framework and applies them across the treatment process. The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction, edited by Dr. Gerry Canavan, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Eric Carl Link, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, explores the relationship between the ideas and themes of American science fiction and their roots in the American cultural experience. The Catholic Enlightenment: The Forgotten History of a Global Movement by Dr. Ulrich Lehner, professor of theology, tells the stories of reform-minded Catholics who fought for modern ideals during the Enlightenment. The book also reveals the deep historical roots of Pope Francis’ reforms.

Charles K. McClatchy and the Golden Era of American Journalism by Rev. Steven Avella, professor of history, is a biography covering McClatchy’s career as the editor of the Sacramento Bee and weaves the history of Northern California with that of American newspapers. Federalism on Trial: State Attorneys General and National Policymaking in Contemporary America by Dr. Paul Nolette, assistant professor of political science, presents the first broad-scale examination of the increasingly nationalized political activism of state attorneys general. Liberty’s Tears: Soviet Portraits of the ‘American Way of Life’ During the Cold War by Dr. Alan Ball, professor of history and director of graduate studies, is a collection of articles illustrating how the Soviet media portrayed the United States during the Cold War. The Moot Court Advisor’s Handbook, A Guide for Law Students, Faculty, and Practitioners by Melissa L. Greipp, associate professor of legal writing at Marquette University Law School, is a resource of sound advice and best practices for running moot court and other legal skills competitions.

Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions by Dr. Irfan Omar, associate professor of theology, and Dr. Michael Duffey, scholar in residence in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, provides a comprehensive look at peace and violence in seven world religions. Resonant MEMS: Fundamentals, Implementation, and Application by Dr. Stephen Heinrich, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering and director of graduate studies, and Dr. Fabien Josse, professor of electrical and computer engineering, elucidates the various aspects of MEMS resonators, identifies the state of the art in this rapidly changing field and serves as a valuable reference tool. The SAGE Handbook of Family Communication by Dr. Lynn H. Turner, professor of communication studies, examines family communication theory and research. Leading scholars in family communication expand the definition of family, address recent shifts in culture and cover important new topics.

Interested in more books? Check out all the offerings written and edited by Marquette faculty at

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At Marquette, there is no shortage of great ideas. Here, problem-solving, research and innovation are part of who we are. But support is needed for great ideas to be realized and breakthroughs to be made. With a gift to support research at Marquette, you can be part of something that’s moving toward greatness — that will Be The Difference. Imagine what your investment will do. To support research at Marquette, contact Andrea Petrie at 414.288.4781 or

Discover Magazine 2016  
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